Thailand - Ko Tao (World Trip Day 41)
Ko Tao is a cutie island in the southern Thailand that is synonymous with diving. You don't need a second reason to come here. It has many diving schools packed on the island which means high quality and very cheap courses. I've dreamed about exploring the biodiversity of the seas first hand and to meet colorful marine creatures. My fairytale started very romantically.
I thought I was in Europe the moment I got here. With Asian faces we look like a minority. Caucasian and Latin American people in their swimming suits suntanning on the beaches or out on the boats with their diving gears. Honestly, they all look so hot.
We got upgraded to a better room since it was low season right now. The room has a large sun deck with a fantastic ocean view. I can't ask for a better place to stay!
I wanted to do the 4-day open water diving course. But Sadao is not very keen on doing it with me. At the end we agreed on the 1-day fun dive course. We joined a school which is run and taught by Finnish instructors, most of the students were Finnish as well. Our instructor Tom has lived on the island for seven years already. He told us that the first time he tried diving, he felt the calmness of mind for the first time in years and he could forget about the stress working in the corporate world. I was quite nervous before my first scuba dive, I had this gut feeling that something will happen. We took the boat and went to a shallow place to practice the basic techniques with all the equipments on. I could do most of the techniques except for I couldn't quite master clearing the mask. Sadao on the other hand, picked up everything quickly. After a very brief training like 15 minutes Tom tried to lead us to a deeper area. I followed and focused on breathing deeply. Saw many species of fishes swimming by. Slowly some water leaked into my mask and I tried to clear it by blowing air out of my nose and somehow I felt even more salt water leaked into my mask and into my nostrils. I started to panic but tried to stay calm by breathing through the regulator. My mind cried out for the surface! I turned around, found a coral reef which I could set my diving fins on and stood with my head out of the water. I took the regulator out and caught some real fresh air! Oh breathing had never felt so good! At that moment a handsome Caucasian guy snorkeled by and kindly asked if I was okay. I was still catching up with my breaths, "not really, first time diving." "Where is your instructor?" I turned around, they must be 20 meters away now. He then taught me some techniques and told me to find my instructor before leaving. I stayed at the same spot until 10 minutes later, Tom and Sadao realized that I didn't follow them then they surfaced to find me. After my embarrassing first dive, Tom didn't bring me with them to the second dive. So they went deeper to about 12 meters under the water and I went back to the boat. I still don't know was it my body not suitable for scuba diving or just that I needed more time to practice. Sadao took the waterproof camera with him and took many photos, I didn't see all that with my eyes.
If there's another chance in the future I wouldn't mind to try again. Sadly, my scuba diving experience on Ko Tao had ended very early. During our stay here we rent a motorbike to explore the island. Some roads were still very bumpy and muddy. It was really adventurous on a motorbike. But really sometimes the joy of traveling can only be felt after a soul stirring journey. We went up to the highest point on the island and down to a quiet beach for the most breathtaking sunset. Without my partner I couldn't have done it myself. We are leaving the island and ready to go up north soon!